Duckholes Trail (Ku-ring-gai NP)

The Duckholes (or Duck Holes) Trail is a firetrail in the Ku-ring-gai National Park in Terrey Hills. A fairly dreary walk , that’s more appealing as a mountain bike trail.

Being in Coronavirus self-isolation, I’m looking for some nearby trails that I haven’t done yet. The Duck Holes trail looks appealing, although I soon discover this is about the most boring hike I have done in a very long time. The trail starts on McCarrs Creek Rd; it’s a little tricky to find as there’s no signage. Park near the Coal and Candle Rural Fire Brigade sign (301 McCarrs Creek Rd) and follow the sealed driveway downhill under you reach a locked gate. The sign on the gate states “Terrey Hills Trail” – but is the Duck Hole Track. You can also ignore the distance on the sign (1.7km), which is wrong.

The first 1.5km or so passes behind a row of properties, but out here they are all acreage blocks and there’s no sign of people or houses. It’s not unpleasant walking, although unlike there are a few puddles and muddy sections.


I pass one other walker and a couple of mountain-bikers – the trail is shared with bikes and horses. But it’s pretty quiet, which is what I hoped…

Did I mention it’s rather boring? There’s no variation in the vegetation and no views. Good for getting some exercise, but not a bushwalk I’d recommend. After 3.5km the firetrail starts to descend, and according to my topoographical map at the 4km mark there’s a junction with another firetrail that I can take to form a loop, back to the start. However, I can’t see any firetrail. I’m standing right where the firetrail should be, and after a bit of exploring I see a rusted gate post. But any trace of a trail has been obliterated, the bush reclaiming what was once a six-foot wide service trail.


I continue downhill; the one nice spot along the track, just before it reaches the road, is a small set of cascades on McCarrs Creek which is just off the main trail.


A few hundred metres further and the Duckholes Trail meets McCarrs Creek Road. I’ve got a few choices from here:

  • return the same way back up Duckholes Trail
  • continue down McCarrs Creek Road and then up West Head Road, taking the Centre Track back to make a loop
  • walk up McCarrs Creek Road to form a shorter loop.

I decide I’ll take the road back as it’s getting late; a rather bad idea in hindsight as there’s no shoulder on the narrow road. While the Duckholes Trail is pretty uninspiring, the road-walk back is even worse… definitely not a hike I’ll undertake again!

(Not far from the end of the Duckhole Trail is The Duckhole, on the other side of McCarrs Creek Road. There’s a really cool track along McCarrs Creek, which I explore a few days later… This short walk is definitely worth doing.)

0.0km Parking area on McCarrs Creek Road (near Fire Brigade sign)
0.3km Locked gate and start of firetrail
3.5km Junction with non-existent firetrail!
5.1km End of firetrail (McCarrs Creek Road)
8.6km Parking area (via McCarrs Creek Road)
Location Parking area near Coal and Candle Rural Fire Brigade sign (301 McCarrs Creek Rd)
Distance 8.6km loop as walked (3.5km on-road).
11.5km loop if returning via Centre Track (3.1km on-road)
Grade Easy.  150m total elevation gain.
Season/s All year
Map/s Interactive topographical map [AllTrails] – long loop
9130-4S Hornsby (1:25K)  Buy / Download
GPS Route PlotaRoute map with option to download GPX / KML file

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